Thinking of starting a business? Whatever your motivation, you have to know that while the potential rewards of entrepreneurship are great, the road to success can be fraught with challenges. With that in mind, it’s best to make the necessary preparations and make sure you’re ready for the exciting journey ahead.
Consider these pointers to help you set out on the right path.
- Come up with a business idea
It all starts with an idea. If you already have one, then you can move on to the next step. If not, find that one thing you think you can thrive on.
You can start with a few potential ideas. Write them down and do your research, until you’re convinced you found the right endeavor.
Here are some tips on where to get inspiration for business ideas.
- What are passionate about? Is it art, IT, food, travel? Working on a passion can give you the motivation you need to overcome challenges.
- Follow your intuition. While working for an industry or simply looking around various fields of interest, you might have noticed something that’s lacking or needing a solution, and you believe you have the answer.
- Explore various sources. The internet is filled with business blogs or publications that include suggestions on business ideas. Attend trade events or franchise fairs to get inspiration from existing businesses. Ask people you know about products, services, or innovations that they’d likely patronize.
- What can you offer that’s better or cheaper than what’s already on the market? A business idea doesn’t always have to be original. You can take an existing product or service and find a way to deliver it better or at a lower cost. This will give you a chance of capturing a good slice of the market.
- Do your research
Once you know what business idea to pursue, the next step is to study the market. Learn about your target customers, their habits and interests, their motivations, and so on. Commissioning a professional market research can be expensive, so consider other sources, such as conducting social media polls, or surveying or talking to members of a club or organization that represents your market. You can also ask people you know, but it’s not wise to limit your research to them.
In addition, look into who your competitors are and what they’re doing. Study successes as well as failures, and try to learn from both. See how you can differentiate yourself from the pack.
Do a feasibility study or business plan that outlines the potential risks and rewards of the business, your business model, financial projections, and so on. Not only will this guide you in establishing the business, it’s also essential in obtaining funds from bank and investors.
- Decide on your business address
Are you setting up a brick and mortar business? If so, always consider the location. You’d want to be easily found and accessed by your customers, or by delivery and transport services.
If your business will mostly be conducted online, or if you have no real need for a physical office or shop, consider working from home and getting a virtual office address or a hot desk service. This will help you save on costs until such time that you can afford or will need your own office.
- Secure your funding
Based on your business plan, be prepared with the funding you need to get your business operational. You should have enough funds to finance your capital equipment, inventory, registration, and others startup costs.
Ideally, your funds should come from 25% of your savings. If this is not feasible, find other sources, such as a business loan from a bank or investor, or perhaps, from family and friends. Crowd sourcing may be a good way of raising capital, but it can also come with greater risks.
You should also set aside cash for rental fees, utilities, salaries, supplies, and so on. Weigh your options carefully, and determine what kind of cash flow you can expect at the early stages of your business. This will help you know how much cash you’ll need on hand to keep your business going until such time it can operate on its own income.
- Get legal guidance in setting up your business
A legal professional can help you determine the best structure for your business, and provide you with important advice on other areas. For example, they can assist in determining opportunities for tax savings and identifying the most favorable source of funding for you.
We are happy to help fledgling entrepreneurs get their ventures off the ground. Don’t hesitate to call us to find out how we can help. Get in touch with us today.